The Religions of India Initiative

About the Religions of India Initiative

The Department of Religious Studies has undertaken an initiative to build on its current strengths in the study of the religious traditions of India. This initiative seeks to advocate for the advancement and development of the academic study of Indian religious, literary, performance and visual traditions at UC Davis in its diverse manifestations.  While our long-term goal is to establish an Endowed Chair in the Religions of India that would be housed in the Department of Religious Studies, our more immediate concerns are four-fold:

First, we need to build financial support for fellowships for exceptional undergraduate research on India undertaken by Religious Studies Majors.  This will encourage students to take up the study of India seriously.  It will support innovative, original research at the undergraduate level and will prepare students for graduate work.

Second, we want to build financial support for fellowships recognizing exceptional Graduate Research on India undertaken by Ph.D. candidates in our Graduate program in the Study of Religion.  This is instrumental in attracting the best graduate students to our Ph.D. Program, and will ensure that UC Davis becomes a hub of new and cutting-edge work being done on India.

Third, we seek to engage in community outreach through an endowed lecture series that will support annual Religions of India lectures and events.  This is an important component of the initiative, as it enables us to give back to the community, and to bring new and innovative scholarship on India from outside UC Davis to the broader public.

Fourth,  a  pioneering Creative Arts Residency Program for Indian artists,  musicians, poets and dancers (both short-term and long-term). The Creative Arts Residency Program will enable us to invite leading artists from India to UC Davis on a short term or long term basis. Artists in residence will lead workshops, host lecture demonstrations, and offer guest lectures in courses, and actively participate in the life of the community and the university.

Our long-term goal is to establish an Endowed Chair in Indian Religions: a Chair will enable us weave the study and teaching of India's diverse religious traditions into the fabric of UC Davis. In addition, the Chair will act as an advocate for the Study of the Religions of India at UC Davis.

You can support the Religions of Initiative with a gift. Click here to go to our online giving page.

If you would like to discuss your gift, please contact Archana Venkatesan at

Thank you for your support!

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